Why Miami must play Ryan Fitzpatrick to unlock skill position talent

by Matthew M. Stevens ·

Miami possesses the necessary ingredients to concoct a top-10 passing attack, but the Dolphins must get the recipe right. The secret sauce? One part Ryan Fitzpatrick, one part Kenny Stills, one part Albert Wilson. Sprinkle with a bit of Preston Williams. Stir and simmer, then let the smell of fantasy points waft through the house. There’s trouble in fantasy paradise, however. All signs now point to Miami either trading or cutting Stills, and starting Josh Rosen in Week 1. Regardless, Fitzpatrick still holds fantasy relevance.

Rosen and the Rebuild

Miami remains a rebuilding team that’s still a few seasons out from contention. Knowing what they were getting, the Dolphins acquired Rosen on the cheap with his risk baked in. His 59.9-percent completion percentage in 2018 ranked No. 36 in the NFL and mirrors his 60.9-percent collegiate average. He led UCLA to victory in 17 out of 30 games, which won’t cut it in the NFL. Rosen’s resume also includes a bowl loss to consolation prize Nebraska (5-7) in the 2015 Foster Farms Bowl. He sat out the 2017 Cactus Bowl in preparation for the NFL Draft.

Rosen’s dreadful college resume, advanced stats and metrics profile and uninspiring rookie season tell us what we need to know about the former first-round draft pick. He’s mired in almost the exact same situation he endured last season with Arizona, which means he’s set up for failure. According to Football Outsiders, the Cardinals offensive line ranked No. 26 in pass protection in 2018, allowing 52 sacks (tied for fifth-most in the NFL). Their offense ranked dead last in total yards (3,865).

The similarities in Miami signal trouble for Rosen. The Dolphins ranked No. 31 in pass protection and allowed the same number of sacks (52) that Arizona did. They also ranked No. 31 in total offense. So Rosen will be scrambling for his life once again. Will he start games in 2019? Sure. Who cares? Pegged as a top tank contender to win the Tua Tagovailoa sweepstakes, Miami can only let Rosen take so much punishment. Letting him absorb another 50 sacks can’t be allowed to happen. The team would be wise to keep him healthy and let him compete for the job in 2020 against a hungry rookie with one more year of the rebuild under its belt.

This is where Fitzpatrick comes in.

Do You Believe in Fitzmagic?

Ryan Fitzpatrick holds the key that can unlock Miami’s fantasy football potential: the deep ball. Despite the potential loss of Kenny Stills, Miami still boasts two speedsters who can stretch the field in Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant. Both Wilson (4.43, 87th-percentile) and Grant (4.42, 89th-percentile) boast impressive 40-yard dash times. Wilson ranked inside the top-30 in yards per reception and had two receptions that went for 70-plus yards in 2018. Wilson, an ideal late-round target, scored four touchdowns despite playing only seven games and ranked in the top-three for yards per target and yards per pass route. The addition of rookie Preston Williams gives Miami an outside threat.


The Dolphins deep threats are a match made in heaven for Fitzpatrick. He appeared in eight games for Tampa Bay in 2018 and his play elevated the Bucs receiving corps and produced massive fantasy performances. His 51.5 Deep Ball Completion Percentage and 6.2 air yards per attempt led the NFL, and his 8.3 adjusted yards per attempt ranked No. 3. Dude got the job done down the field in an efficient manner.


From Weeks 1-4, Fitzmagic ranked No. 4 among QBs in fantasy scoring. That’s impressive considering he did it despite playing only the first half of Week 4 when the Bucs pulled him for Jameis Winston. He opened the season with an eye-popping 42.3 fantasy points, the most of any player. Fitzpatrick formed an instant connection with burner DeSean Jackson, who averaged 15.1 standard points per game and posted a WR2 finish in that same span. Jackson’s top fantasy performance (31.6) came in Week 1, and the only other time he topped 20 fantasy points in 2018 happened in Week 2 (22.9). That’s to say, he couldn’t do it with Winston under center.

Preston Williams Rising

Undrafted out of Colorado State, Preston Williams is an intriguing prospect who’s impressed in preseason action and looks to have jumped DeVante Parker on the depth chart. Boasting a 45.3-percent (90th-percentile) College Dominator Rating, Williams’ 6-4, 211-pound frame lends itself to contested catches on the outside and makes him an ideal red-zone target. The Dolphins should cut perennial underachiever Parker and give Williams a shot. It’s an overdue move for Miami after the former first-round pick posted four underwhelming seasons. Did someone say bust?

Check out Preston Williams on PlayerProfiler’s “World Famous” Draft Kit:

The Verdict

It’s an ideal situation for quintessential bridge QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. There’s no pressure to perform and it makes sense for Miami to start him when things turn south in South Florida, which will happen sooner rather than later. At his current FFPC ADP (257.18) it doesn’t matter if Fitzpatrick starts more than six games. He’s a perfect late-round or streaming option who can be paired with one of Albert Wilson (239.39) or Preston Williams (276.735). His value will skyrocket when he posts a QB1 finish in his first start. That’s when savvy gamers sell him for a WR or RB.